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Proceedings of the Colored People's Convention of the State of South Carolina, held in Zion Church, Charleston, November, 1865. Together with the declaration of rights and wrongs; an address to the people; a petition to the legislature, and a memorial to Congress.

1865SC-Charleston.25.pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS AND WRONGS.

It is said in the Declaration of American Independence, "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

That the phrase "all men" includes the negro no one will attempt to deny. Therefore, we, the colored citizens of South Carolina and of these United States of America, justly claim such rights as are set forth in the above Declaration.

To secure the free enjoyment of these rights is the proper object of civil government.

"Right" is defined to be the just claim, ownership, or lawful title which a person has to anything.

"He has a right to own his body and mind," his money or other property, which he has honestly earned, and the right to dispose of the same as he will, provided this is not done to the injury of others and in violation of the laws founded upon the rights of men.

But, in violation of the above principles and of justice and humanity, we have been deprived of our natural rights, which are founded in the laws of our nature, which consists of personal liberty, the right to be free in our persons, and the right of personal security and protection against injuries to our bodies or good name.

These are a portion of our inalienable rights, because we cannot be justly deprived of them.

We have been deprived of the free exercise of political rights, of natural, civil, and political liberty.

The avenues of wealth and education have been closed to us.

The strong wall of prejudice, on the part of the dominant race, has obstructed our pursuit of happiness.

We have been subjected to cruel proscription, and our bodies have been outraged with impurity.

We have been, and still are, deprived of the free choice of those who should govern us, and subjected unjustly to taxation without representation, and have bled and sweat for the elevation of those who have degraded us, and still continue to oppress us.

ZION CHURCH, Charleston,

November 24,1865. }

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